Category Archives: BE A DISCIPLE

DAILY QUIET TIME.050816

Hands Praying on Bible            Luke 9: 23 says, “If anyone would follow me (be my disciple), let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.”  The point I want to focus on right now is about our daily habits. We can’t go many days without eating (and we certainly like to eat every day); we cannot live more than a few days without water; we have to sleep regularly, mostly every night. If we don’t go to work or school every day, we won’t last long in those endeavors. If we don’t do these things every day, we will languish, and diminish, and die.

I submit that if we don’t focus attention on our spiritual lives every day we will eventually wither and die spiritually. Because God wants so much to have a personal relationship with us, He gives us many, many extra chances to choose Him, so we won’t die forever (2 Peter 3:9). If we want to have a vibrant relationship with God, we must do it daily. We have to choose, this day, to serve Him. (Joshua 24:15) If we don’t eat daily, we won’t grow and develop properly physically; and if we don’t seek God daily, then we won’t grow and develop properly spiritually.

If anyone wants to draw near to God; if they want to develop a personal relationship with God; then they must focus their attention on God every day. The best times I have getting to know God better are the times when I take the time to: 1 Read the Bible and a devotional and let it soak in a little; 2 Read the prayer requests that I have received and think them over; both about the physical needs requested and about the spiritual needs that are represented by those requests; and then 3 kneel and talk to God; tell Him how much I want Him and how much I need Him in my life; about how thankful I am that He loves me and is taking care of me; about how much I love Him and how much I want to be more like Him and less like me, how I want to die to myself so He can live His life in me; and then I 4 wait; (and while I’m waiting),           I try to 5 listen for God about the needs in the prayer requests and how they relate to the Bible passage and the devotional. .
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TEACHING THEM WHAT? 110515

Teacher talking with students in the clasroomOK, In Matt. 28:18-20, Jesus says, “I have all authority, so go into all the world and make disciples, baptizing them .  .  .  teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you. .  .  . and [know this] I am with you always, even unto the end of the world [age].”  What does in mean, “all things”?  Some folks would say those things are particular things, like ‘love God with all your heart’, ‘love your neighbor as yourself’, ‘seek first the kingdom of God . . .’, ‘don’t resist evil’; ‘trust in the Lord with all your heart’; ‘rejoice evermore’.

If we really want to ‘make disciples’ maybe we should teach an attitude of surrender; of surrendering ourselves to Jesus; like it says in Luke 9:23, “If anyone wants to be My disciple, let him deny himself, and take up his cross [meaning “die to yourself”](see Galatians 2:20), daily, and follow Me.”  To have the attitude in your heart that comes from Jesus, that says, “I’m not touched by things in this world, because Jesus has put His Spirit in my heart.”  So you get to the point where you really don’t care what happens to you and your stuff, because you’re thinking about Jesus and helping others come to a personal relationship with Him.   That’s something really worth teaching and worth learning.

Like Paul said in Romans 5:3-5, “And not only that, but we also [rejoice] in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces [endurance]; 4 and [endurance], character; and character, hope. 5 Now [this] hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”  When you get that attitude in your heart, then observing all the things Jesus commanded becomes possible.

MAKING DISCIPLES, HOW DO YOU DO IT? 110315

Teenager having daily devotional at home. Christian lifestyle. Peace and love while prayingIf you’re going to make a disciple, presumably you’re going to teach ’em something.  So what are you thinking about teaching them?  I’m of the opinion that if you want to have a lasting effect on someone, the best thing you can do is change their behavior; more to the point, you create some new habit that will stay with them for a long time, like having a quiet time: reading the Bible and some devotional and then talking and listening to God for a few minutes early in the morning each day.  If you don’t do anything but that, and it sticks, it’ll have a profound effect on their lives forever after.

But let me tell you.  It’s not easy to get people started on a new habit, even if it’s short; even if it gives them a whole new outlook on life; even if it changes their hearts and eventually changes their lives.  I’ve talked to my kids (I have four) about this subject on repeated occasions, and so far two have really gotten it.  I’m still waiting, and hoping, and praying that they will get it and keep it forever.  But it just doesn’t work to brow-beat them about it.  Some days I think repetition is the key.  On a good day, maybe they’ll say “Yes, I’ll do it.”  But it’s easy to fall off the wagon, even when you’ve been doing it for a long time.  I know that from experience, so I’m pretty unjudgmental about how, where, and when they have a quiet time.  The really great thing is, God is working! He’s moving in their lives, even when I’m not looking.

 

ARE YOU A DISCIPLE-OR? 110215

Father playing chess with sonSo we’ve been talking about “making disciples” for Jesus, as in Matt. 28: 18-20, when Jesus said, “All power is given to Me, in heaven and in earth, so Go and teach (make disciples of) all nations, baptizing them in the Name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you, and [know this], I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”  I am satisfied that ‘making disciples’ is the duty of every practicing Christian. You know, “practicing Christian” means a person who has a personal relationship with God through Jesus, and they have the Spirit of the Living God residing in their own personal hearts and bodies.  (As in 1 Corinthians 6:19: “Don’t you know that your body is the Temple of the Holy Spirit?”)  Earlier, we have defined “practicing Christian” as one who talks to and listens to God during her daily quiet time; and as one who meets with other brothers or sisters weekly to tell each other what God is doing in their lives.

So if practicing Christians make disciples, how do they do it?  Well, that’s a pretty big subject; we probably can’t cover it in 300-400 words; but at least we could talk about how to begin.  Continue reading

KBMT FOR JESUS #1.2TIM2:2.103115

Business concept image of a businessman pointing Coaching icon on virtual screen over blue backgroundThe word ‘disciple’ as used in the Bible, means ‘follower’ or ‘one who is taught’, that is ‘a student’.  But it’s more than a student, because these people devoted all their time and energy to the process.  They lived with their teacher.  In 2 Timothy 2:2, Paul says  to Timothy, “You have learned many things from me, on many occasions, so teach those things to trustworthy people who will be able to teach others also.” These relationships are the process for making disciples.  In Matt. 28:18-20, Jesus says, “Go make disciples .  .  .”; and He had already started the process, with His first twelve disciples, (later known as apostles).  He taught them, and other followers, for three years.  Later He commissioned Paul as one of His disciples, in a dark room in Damascus.

Paul knew Jesus, and Jesus (by His Spirit) taught Paul to be a disciple, to make disciples, and to teach others to make disciples. Timothy knew Paul, and Paul taught Timothy . . . Trustworthy people knew Timothy, and Timothy taught them . . . Others knew those trustworthy people, and those trustworthy people taught them . . . and those ‘Others’ taught still others, right down to today.

I’m convinced that every person who has made a commitment to Jesus should be moving up this continuum of Know a disciple, Be a disciple, Make disciples and Teach others to make disciples for Jesus, from the time we first come to know Jesus until we meet Him in heaven.  We are able to do this because Jesus has empowered us BY HIS SPIRIT within us. This is the primary means God uses to change the world, by changing people from the inside out, and sending them into the world as his ambassadors.

So where are you in this process of making disciples?  You may be like me.  I’m old, and I just recently figured out I was supposed to be making disciples.  Or you may be ‘just a kid’ who is truly excited about the fact that the Spirit is moving in your life.  But no matter when you come to the revelation that you belong to Jesus and He belongs to you, right then you begin to see and develop discipleship relationships with the people God puts in your life, whether you’re intending to or not.  This is truly a Spiritual adventure!

You’ve heard the term ‘mentor’; in this case a disciple is someone who continues to learn from Jesus while she is spending time teaching others; someone who not only teaches you facts, but also shows you (demonstrates) how to live.  That’s who a disciple is and that’s what a disciple does.  Only difference is they are doing it, not just for the student (or for the teacher), but even more, they’re doing it for Jesus, by His Power that works within them.

PRACTICING CHRISTIAN 5: Making Jesus Lord.102515

Jesus is Lord LetterpressI’m pretty sure most people in America are not ready to let anyone, even Jesus, be the Lord of their lives.  At least no one besides themselves.  We’re all too focused on me.  But God is constantly moving a person in that direction; to give up himself, to “deny himself; to take up his cross daily and follow Jesus.”  (Luke 9:23)  To “take up your cross” means this: “I am crucified (I died) with Christ; nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ lives in me, and the life that I now live I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” (Gal. 2:20)  Jesus said that verse in Luke to anyone who wanted to be His disciple (his student, his follower).  If you give up yourself, surrender yourself, deny yourself, die to yourself, then you DO make Jesus the Lord of your life, because He comes in to your own heart and body and fills you with His Own Spirit, and He BECOMES the Lord of your Life.  That’s how you make Jesus the Lord of your life.  Actually Jesus is the One who chooses you and then you let Him come in. (John 15:16)   Continue reading

What Do You Mean, PRACTICING Christian? 101715

Sandhill Cranes in Flight at Sunrise Panoramic ViewBack on August 16, 2015, I wrote a post called  “Making Disciples”.  The last  paragraph said, “Did you notice that I haven’t said anything about talking to these ‘friends’ about Jesus.  After you develop a relationship with them, if you’re a practicing Christian, Jesus will just start flowing through you to them, and touching their hearts, whether you are trying to make disciples of them or not.  ‘Course that brings up the question of what does ‘practicing’ mean?  But that’s a question for another day.”

Well today is the day to discuss some of what ‘practicing’ means.  Let’s see, you know practicing, as in ‘practicing’ attorney?  I happen to be an attorney, and that’s a scary thought.  When are they going to finish practicing and start ‘being’ one?  Or practicing medicine.  What’s the time line for rising to the level of actually DOING it? In those cases, sounds like practicing may be a cover for seldom knowing for sure what is exactly the right thing to do.  Try something and see if it works.  If not, try something else.

Practicing Christian shall be deemed to be “one who is a follower of Jesus”.  Follower in the Bible is often translated disciple, or ‘one who is taught’ (student).  Continue reading